How To Build A Home Fallout Shelter In The Cold War

this episode is sponsored by Wix go to wix.com slash go slash simple history to create a website now how to build a home fallout shelter in the Cold War [Music] by 1961 the Cold War was heating up and the threat was becoming real as the Soviets had intercontinental ballistic missiles with sufficient range and numbers to threaten the mainland of America these missiles carried nuclear warheads with the equivalent explosive power of three million tons of TNT a direct hit from one of these missiles or being within hundreds of yards of one detonating meant certain death whether you were in a shelter or not as either the blast the 500 mile an hour shock wave or the massive burst of radiation would almost certainly kill you but in a fallout shelter if you were several miles away from the impact site you might stand some kind of a chance and this is what they were designed for there was neither the money nor necessary planning in place the federal government’s strategy was trying to persuade the American public for the need for personal shelters and to take responsibility to prepare for the worst rather than rely on the government to provide mass public shelters and support so suddenly there was a need to try and protect the civilian population from such devastation by encouraging the building of personal fallout shelters after a nuclear attack given that you survived the blast there was the danger of radioactive fallout that could contaminate the air and soil lasting for weeks months or even years in the surrounding environment so the fallout shelter had to be designed to shield people from these effects one option was to buy a prefabricated shelter which was like a steel cylinder with a submarine style hatch another was the several possible private shelter designs to build both underground and over ground in such areas as the basement or your backyard instruction manuals and TV shows demonstrated to the American public how to build them as a do-it-yourself project the shelter’s walls and roof could be built from solid thick concrete blocks to absorb and shield from radiation the entrance no more than two feet wide was strictly built with a right angle turn to prevent most of the radiation rays getting in as radiation travels in a straight line if it was outside in the backyard a hatch would provide entry a basic basement shelter according to the manuals could be built for 150 to 200 dollars at the time ventilation was supplied by vents in the bottom of the shelter wall and with air vent pipes which were to a filter mechanism on the surface turning a hand-cranked blower attached to the vent pipe would bring in fresh air with fallout shelters there was a real fear that unprepared neighbors in desperation might try to enter the shelter so sometimes air vents that lead to the surface were camouflaged and tamper-proof heat could build up very quickly in a small confined shelter because of the occupants body heat and because earth is a good thermal insulator climate control therefore could aid in cooling but it was an expensive feature of shelters the shelter would be stocked with canned food and water rations required to survive an extended length of time supplies and equipment for sanitation as well as medical supplies were also stocked inside one of the obvious problems apart from ration and water for the duration of the shelter was the toilet a solution was to use a bag in a garbage can with a tight-fitting cover the waste could be kept in the can until it was safe to leave the shelter it was also important to keep a radio to stay in touch with other survivors and conelrad broadcasts ideally an electrical generator was installed in the shelter to provide lighting and other comforts of home whether a homemade do-it-yourself shelter would have been effective if a nuclear attack did take place during the Cold War is debatable while they may have blocked radiation the occupants may have suffered by the time it was okay to go back outside because of the lack of air handling and waste disposal systems as well as the high temperatures [Music] in 1959 the US government produced a do-it-yourself book it was later found out that only a small percentage of Americans had actually received and read it in 1962 just 1.4 percent of Americans had a nuclear fallout shelter which meant that 98.6 percent of people had to rely on federal or state or county shelters and they were simply not enough of them so what was the reason it was likely cost in a survey at the time sixty-seven percent of Americans simply felt they could not afford to build their own fallout shelter this episode of simple history was brought to you by wicks people invested in fallout shelters in the Cold War and you can protect yourself from obscurity Wix is the place to go to make that professional looking site you’ve always wanted to make go to wix.com slash go slash simple history to create a site that is customized to what you want to do regardless of 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Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q11c29qdmJ0

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